The Elgin and St. Edward baseball teams maintained their respective trends in the Maroons' 4-3 nonconference home win Saturday.
Elgin (2-0) overcame an early deficit for the second straight game with some timely hits and solid relief pitching from Jon Nelson.
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"I'm just doing my job, going in there and not letting them score any runs," said Nelson, who issued a lone walk in 3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Kiko Mari, who in 4 innings limited the Green Wave to 3 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits, walked 2 and struck out 5.
Hard-luck St. Edward slipped to 0-5-1 after losing a lead in the fifth inning or later for the fourth time this spring.
"We're leading through five, then all the sudden we have one bad inning at the end of the game," St. Edward coach Tim Dovichi said.
The bad inning for St. Edward this time was the bottom of the sixth. Green Wave starting pitcher Scott Palmer entered with a 3-2 lead, but a one-out infield hit by junior Jack Koeckritz ignited Elgin's 2-run rally.
Koeckritz advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored the tying run with two outs, thanks to a line-drive basehit to left-center field by junior catcher Tom Sobeski, who took second on an errant throw from the outfield. "I was just looking for a little poke," Sobeski said. "Got it."
Elgin senior Jimmy Stearns came to the plate next and lofted a high flyball into no man's land in right-center field between several St. Edward defenders. Right fielder Jack Tierney tried to make a sliding backhanded grab, but he couldn't hold on. Sobeski trotted home from second base with the go-ahead run.
"I just wanted to get a bat on the ball," Sobeski said of the 0-1 pitch. "I kind of lunged at it a bit and popped up, but it kind of fell in a hole and dropped in there."
Nelson (2-0) did the rest by retiring the Green Wave in order in the top of the seventh. He struck out the No. 9 hitter, then induced a groundout to shortstop Omar Valadez and a flyout to Stearns in right field to end the game.
"Jon's probably been our most impressive pitcher from preseason until now," Elgin coach David Foerster said. "I mean, he's really stepped up his game and he's matured a lot. He's a good pitcher. He keeps guys off-balance and keeps the ball down and he's real effective."
The loss marked the fifth time in 6 games St. Edward has been limited to 3 runs or less, an unexpected slump from a senior-laden team that averaged over 6 runs a game last season.
"Offense was supposed to be our strength, but so far it has been our weakness," Dovichi said.
The Wave took a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning when a flyball to center field with two outs was dropped for an error, allowing 2 unearned runs to score.
Elgin scored single runs in the third and fifth innings, thanks in both cases to two-out, RBI singles by junior Clay White.
Tighe Koehring went 2-for-3 and drove in a run, and Palmer (0-2) allowed 4 runs (2 earned), struck out 9, walked 3 in 5⅔ innings for St. Edward, which begins Suburban Christian Gold play on Monday with a series opener against IC Catholic Prep.
Elgin returns to action Tuesday with an Upstate Eight Conference crossover against visiting Metea Valley.